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Hi Nini,
I think part of the issue is that while this was your first and undeniably hurtful experience with relationships, what happened between you and your ex actually isnít that unusual, which is why I doubt heíd see any reason to apologize, not any more reason anyway than anyone else who leaves a relationship would have to apologize to their ex. Unfortunately, part of risking your feelings and falling for someone is assuming the risk that youíll end up hurt and let down if things donít work out as you hoped. And since the vast majority of relationships donít last forever, itís almost inevitable that anyone who gets involved in a romance will end up being left and hurt at least a few times. Breakups are always painful for the one who is being left, but that doesnít necessarily mean that the one who leaves is intentionally trying to cause their ex pain or to hurt them anymore than necessary. I know it doesnít seem this way to you, but what you went through with your ex was a pretty typical breakupóitís extremely common for the person leaving to vow that theyíll always stay close friends and that he or she will always care deeply about the ex, then avoid contact once the breakup is finalized. This happens in almost every breakup and isnít particularly egregious or cruel behavioróin fact, such things are usually said in order to try and cushion the blow and lessen the pain someone feels while being dumped.

People who donít treat their partners particularly well, especially when leading up to a breakup, donít have anything to be proud of, but it doesnít make someone a bad person who deliberately and maliciously tried to devastate their ex just because they say things they donít mean while leaving a relationship they know isnít right for them. I guess what Iím saying is that while the ramifications of what your ex did have clearly been devastating and your desire for an apology is completely understandable, I can see why your ex doesnít think he did anything that terrible that requires closure and an apologyóin his eyes, from what youíve said, it sounds like he considers leaving you to have been a pretty normal, run of the mill breakup. The fact that you were so hurt by it doesnít change his perspective on what happenedóIím sure he feels like he had every right to leave and that he did what he could to ask decent toward you during the breakup, so he doesnít see why he should feel guilty or contrite. Iím not saying either one of you are objectively correct in your views of what happened and whether or not any further discussion and apologies are justified, as I have no way of knowing and no right to judge that, but I can see his point of view. Even the nicest people canít help but hurt others in some circumstances, particularly when they feel the need to walk away from someone who they know loves them very much and will be crushed by the news. But what can you really do?? Give up your own happiness and stop pursuing what you want in order to avoid hurting someone you donít want to be with any longer? That doesnít seem fair or right to either personóunfortunately, one of the hardest things about love is that there are never any guarantees and no logic or common sense controlling our feelings. Thatís why people can love someone who treats them horribly more than anything and why other people canít bring themselves to feel truly in love with someone who they want to love more than anything, someone who would make a great partner and would give them all the happiness and love they would have thought theyíd ever need.

No matter how much you want to make someone love you and no matter how much they want to love you, if they donít feel it naturally, itís just not going to workóthe whole thing is really quite arbitrary and illogical, on top of emotions being inevitably and constantly in flux, which is why love can be so frustrating, difficult, and heartbreaking. Anyway, Iíve ended a number of my relationships over the years, ranging from relatively short and casual affairs to very serious, long term relationship that were expected to last permanently. Thinking about your situation makes me feel sad and guilty about that but also confused as to exactly how I should feelÖon one hand, I needed to be true to myself and my feelings (or lack thereof), but on the other hand, I feel like a jerk for hurting people and know I could have handled those breakups a lot more tactfully and maturely (I used to have a bad habit of procrastinating when it came to officially breaking things off, which resulted in me sometimes starting new relationships before the old ones were technically over, and I know that must have been really hurtful and cruel in the eyes of my exes). I guess breaking up rarely brings out the best, most noble side in anyoneóthe breaker uppers just want to say anything they can in order to get out as easily, quickly, and painlessly as possible, while the people who are being dumped usually want a prolonged explanation and discussion, possibly to try and change their soon-to-be-exes minds, possibly to get a chance to fully vent and air all their anger and grievances, or possibly to try to make as much sense as they can out of something that seems totally senseless. Splits tend to bring out some of the least admirable qualities in all of us, and often the way people are treated during breakups only compounds and intensifies the hurt and resentment they feel from the way they were treated during the course of the relationship. This is totally understandable and quite common, but I know that doesnít make it any easier or serve as much consolation for you or anyone else still feeling the pain of a breakup.

I think you should consider whether or not you can accept that he IS sorry that you have been so hurt even if he doesnít see what he did as particularly egregious. Maybe he was just doing the best he could and extricating himself from your relationship as gently as he knew how to doÖso maybe wanting to make him feel sorry, to take responsibility for your heartache, and to feel remorse for what he did is missing the point and giving him much more power than he deserves. He really didnít do anything that different than what most people do during breakupsóthereís no reason for you to assume that he didnít care at all about you or that he was trying to hurt you anymore than was unavoidable. Iím not trying to defend him or say heís a great guy who acted with class and consideration, far from it, but I just donít think that the way youíre viewing the breakup is in your best interest. Perhaps if you instead consider that all breakups suck and hurt but that since you canít change someoneís mind if they decide to leave, you might as well try to let go of as much pain and resentment as you possibly can. Everyone gets dumped at one time or another, because we all date people who ultimately realize theyíre better suited to be partners with someone elseóitís an inescapable part of love and a risk that is ultimately worthwhile because the rewards are so exciting and exhilarating. The only thing we can really do is realize that itís an unavoidable and universal experience and that the hurt and disappointment will be worth it in time because it saves us from ending up with the wrong person and clears the path for the right one, as well as making it even sweeter and more rewarding when we do finally meet our ideal partners. So, Nini, what do you think about giving your ex a break and accepting that he was doing the best he can and that ultimately, he didnít really do anything that out of the ordinary when it comes to bad breakup behavior? Maybe if you could stop blaming him for you being so devastated to lose him, you could let go of some of the anger and resentment, and other negative emotions, that are standing in the way of you being happy and optimistic about your future?

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